Iron ore futures jump

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    BEIJING – Iron ore futures in China jumped on Monday to their highest in more than two months, after customs data showed imports of the steelmaking ingredient fell for a second straight month in November, hit by a drop in supply from top miners.

    While shipments from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal, the world’s biggest iron ore port, slipped 0.7 percent in October, Brazilian miner Vale SA slashed its outlook for first-quarter output.

    This pushed China’s iron ore imports down 2.4 percent month-on-month to 90.65 million tons in November.

    However, analysts remain optimistic about iron ore demand in coming months as profits recovered at Chinese mills after a pick-up in construction levels in November.

    Also, “with trade tension keeping inventories relatively low, import demand should be well supported into the year-end,” ANZ Research said in a note, referring to commodities across the board.

    Inventories of imported iron ore at Chinese ports fell to 129.4 million tons by the end of November, logging the first monthly drop in five. The levels were almost unchanged at 129.5 million tons as of Dec. 9.

    “China’s commodity imports for November were stronger than expected,” the note said, adding that the data suggested a stabilizing economic growth after last quarter’s softness. – Reuters